Title: Agree in Love
Blurb: A covenant is a set of promises that we make to one another, in a Unitarian Universalist religious community, in light of something larger than ourselves. A covenant is a commitment to the relationships we have with one another and to making, maintaining and strengthening those relationships, a religious practice, even when and especially when times are difficult. As we make that commitment to relationship, because together we can achieve something important that we could not achieve by ourselves. Because these religious communities we form matter not only in our own lives, but in the lives of people we have never met and may not ever know.
Speaker: Rev. David Pyle
Bio: The Rev. David Pyle is the Regional Lead and a Congregational Life Consultant with the MidAmerica Regional Staff.
Rev. Pyle holds a Masters of Divinity from the Meadville Lombard Theological School and a Bachelors of Arts in History and Political Science from East Tennessee State University. He completed his Clinical Pastoral Education Residency at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Illinios. He has served as a minister for congregations in California, Michigan, and Illinois, and as an Administrator for a congregation in Texas. He also serves as the Deputy Command Chaplain for the Army Reserve Sustainment Command. He lives in Oak Grove, Kentucky.
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Reading: “Our Faith” by Edward Schempp
“Unitarian Universalism is a fierce belief in the way of freedom and reverence for the sacred dignity of each individual. With Jefferson we “have sworn eternal hostility against every tyranny over the mind.”
Unitarian Universalism is cooperation with a universe that created us. It is a celebration of life. It is being in love with goodness and justice. It is a sense of humor about absolutes.
Unitarian Universalism is faith in people, hope for tomorrow’s child, confidence in a continuity that spans all time. It looks not to a perfect heaven, but toward a good earth. It is respectful of the past, but not limited to it. It is trust in growing and conspiracy with change. It is spiritual responsibility for a moral tomorrow.”
Schempp was the plaintiff in the 1963 Supreme Court case that declared mandatory Bible reading in public schools unconstitutional.
Reading: “Nothing to Fear in Difference” by Adlai Stevenson
“I think that one of our most important tasks is to convince others that there’s nothing to fear in difference; that difference, in fact, is one of the healthiest and most invigorating of human characteristics without which life would become meaningless. Here lies the power of the liberal way: not in making the whole world Unitarian [Universalist], but in helping ourselves and others to see some of the possibilities inherent in viewpoints other than one’s own; in encouraging the free interchange of ideas; in welcoming fresh approaches to the problems of life; in urging the fullest, most vigorous use of critical self-examination.”
A few years ago, I had the experience of a soldier who had been very reticent to speak with me as their Chaplain, ask for an appointment with me. Sitting in my office, seemingly very nervous, they very hesitantly told me that they had heard from someone else that I was a Unitarian Universalist, and they wanted to know if that was true. I was thinking in my mind that this conversation could go a couple of different ways. I told them yes, I was indeed a Unitarian Universalist, and I immediately saw them relax. “So, you don’t have a problem with soldiers being gay?” they asked. I smiled and said something like “I think a soldier being gay is wonderful!” and they smiled too. And then they told me that they had attended a wedding of two friends of theirs who were gay at a Unitarian Universalist Church, and until that time they had never even imagined that such a church could exist. That soldier and I developed a wonderful relationship that led to several other Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual soldiers in the unit deciding they could trust me as well. All because of one of our congregations having the courage and commitment to live our values in the public space.
Our religious faith matters. Our living faith tradition saves lives. Our very existence as a faith community gives hope to those we may never even meet, hope that is desperately needed in this world. Your pledges and gifts to your congregation ensures that the transformative power of our ministry continues in a world the desperately needs us. I invite you to give as generously as you always have. The offering to support the work of this congregation and of our faith will now be given and received.
I will close us with this thought today… the thing we practice here? That we do not need to think alike to love alike? That there is more than binds us than the things we believe? The hope that the divine light between each of us creates an interdependent web of all existence? The world desperately needs that. In our faith communities we are practicing to be the change we want to see in the world. At times, that can be difficult… we do not always do it well. And yet, it is the transformation of humanity that this world needs… Go forth in Peace, Creating Peace.